Meet the Czech company with a revolutionary car leasing offer that’s ideal for expats

Birne by Direct offers flexible and hassle-free Operative Leasing, making it a perfect fit for foreign drivers.

William Nattrass

Written by William Nattrass Published on 30.10.2023 18:29:00 (updated on 30.10.2023) Reading time: 4 minutes

Wherever you live, driving can be a costly business. Leasing or owning a car brings great personal freedom, but it also creates new stresses, especially for those driving in a foreign country.

A Czech company has now introduced an innovative leasing offer intended to minimize those stresses and open up driving for all. Birne by Direct’s “Operative Leasing” product does away with many of the complications typically associated with car leasing.

At the same time, Operative Leasing is touted as more cost-effective than purchasing. sat down with Birne by Direct to find out more about this innovative approach and how it can help expats living in Czechia.

Why Operative Leasing?

Birne created its Operative Leasing model after recognizing problems in the car leasing market faced by individual retail customers and small businesses. A market geared towards large corporate customers has resulted in standardized solutions that create hassle for smaller individual customers.

“Standard offers are inconvenient for such customers for various reasons,” explains Birne by Direct CEO Lukáš Černo. “First, you have to commit to leasing the car for a certain number of years, when many people – especially expats – don’t know how their professional or personal situation may change in that time.”

“The next big hassle is that you need to choose a package of kilometers that you’ll use throughout the year. This forces you to predict how much you’ll use the car, and it can be problematic if you decide that you want to go on holiday by car, for example.”

“The third major hassle in typical leasing is concern about what will happen after you return the car. People worry about being ripped off if the leasing companies find a dent or a scratch. This fear is justified, because leasing companies have a reputation for finding something to charge you for,” Černo adds.

Birne‘s Operative Leasing is built around three core pillars that directly respond to these issues. Commitment to a lease term is done away with through a flexible returns policy; after two months, customers can return their car at any time with Birne only requiring two-weeks’ notice. Mileage limitations are also abolished, with Birne customers benefiting from unlimited kilometers. Finally, fears of unpleasant surprises when returning the car are a thing of the past, as Birne includes coverage for small damages up to CZK 10,000 in the leasing price.

“We offer a client-friendly leasing model that’s hassle-free,” says Černo. “We thought: Let’s make it flexible for customers, let’s not constrain them in terms of mileage, and let’s give them peace of mind with coverage for small issues that arise during the leasing period.”

Cheaper than buying

Birne’s Operative Leasing can also present a better value proposition than buying a car. Issues such as wear and tear, repairs and servicing tend to be omitted when customers calculate the cost of buying a car, but these charges add up over a car’s lifetime. With Birne, many of these costs are covered in the leasing price. Meanwhile, Černo describes how buying in bulk gives Birne negotiating power that’s “reflected in low prices for customers.”

Taking all these factors into account, Birne calculates that Operative Leasing can be around 10 percent cheaper throughout a five-year period than buying a car outright. Models available through Birne’s attractive leasing proposition include brands such as Fiat, Hyundai, KIA, Mazda, SEAT, Škoda, Toyota, Volvo, VW and more.

Ideal for expats

The flexibility of Operative Leasing with Birne is particularly good news for expats. Foreigners living in Czechia often have to make decisions with a degree of uncertainty about their future, and Birne’s offer provides them with plenty of room to adapt.

“Many expats aren’t sure how long they will stay, and they want to simplify life as much as possible,” Černo explains. “Ideally, they also want to have someone on the end of the phone who can deal with technicalities like repairs, changing of tires, insurance claims, and so on.”

Serving customers in English as well as Czech, Birne’s staff make positive customer experiences their priority. This includes the option to test drive your selected car before signing a lease agreement at the company’s outlet in Prague’s Strahov area.

Černo points out that in focusing on the customer experience, Birne is following wider trends. Modern customers “have high expectations in terms of service. For any company to be relevant for retail customers today, they need to provide the great levels of customer service that people have come to expect from e-commerce companies,” he says.

Reliable provider

A desire to emulate the levels of customer service delivered by e-commerce operators is telling, because Birne is an innovative start-up in its own field. And like many successful start-ups, its revolutionary offer is built on a simple premise: making life easier for customers.

At the same time, the company is part of the Direct insurance family. The establishment of a car leasing branch was a “natural step” for the group, and this backing provides a level of credibility and reliability which, for customers, means security in addition to greater flexibility. 

By changing the way that car leasing works, Birne’s offer may be the encouragement that expats need to take the plunge and embrace the freedom of driving in Czechia.

This article was written in cooperation with Birne by Direct. Read more about our partner content policies here.

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